Can a New York Plea Bargain be Reversed?

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Can a New York Plea Bargain be Reversed?


It’s rare for a plea deal to be reversed, but it can happen. Not all of these reversals are favorable for the defendant.

Here are the circumstances under which a plea bargain may be reversed. 

The Judge or Prosecution Overturns the Deal

Judges may withdraw a plea deal if you violate the terms of the deal. Once this happens you’ve already pled guilty, which means sentencing will be completely within the judge’s hands. 

Recently a judge simply rejected a year-old plea agreement that let a limo company operator avoid prison time for his role in a crash that killed 20 people. This was an unprecedented move in which the judge simply decided the deal was flawed. The defendant was given the choice of accepting the judge’s sentence or withdrawing the guilty plea and taking the matter to trial. It will be interesting to see if this decision is brought to higher courts and allowed to stand.

Prosecutors may also withdraw plea deals prior to the arraignment. 

A Defendant Withdraws the Deal

Defendants may withdraw plea deals if the court has yet to accept the deal. If the court has accepted the plea but has yet to sentence you then you can submit a motion to withdraw if you feel the plea bargain is unjust, if you entered the agreement without a lawyer, if new evidence has arisen in your case which could lead to your acquittal, if your constitutional rights were violated, or if you had another good cause and the judge agrees with your attorney’s reasoning.

The court recognizes that things go wrong during the process. There are miscommunications and misunderstandings that can be caused by language barriers or other problems. The courts also recognize that many plea deals are coercive and leaves the door open for lawyers to challenge such deals if they do so in a timely fashion. 

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

If your original lawyer made a big mistake in guiding you to a plea deal and this led to a waiver of your rights that you might not have made had you received good counsel, then you may be able to withdraw your plea and waiver. This allows your new lawyer to defend the case again, offering a fresh start.

Unfortunately, many courts are very reluctant to accept ineffective assistance of counsel claims, and will often declare that the assistance was adequate given the circumstances or would not have substantially changed the outcome of events.

Nevertheless, if your original lawyer was truly incompetent it can be worth a try.

Make Sure You Have the Best Legal Advice 

You should never be entering into a plea bargain if you won’t be able to meet the conditions of the bargain or if it was not a well-reasoned defense in the first place. You can only make good decisions with solid legal advice.

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, ensure that you’re getting a top-notch defense from an attorney with plenty of experience with the New York criminal court system. Contact us to schedule a case review today.

See also:

How Long Does a Criminal Case Take in New York? 

What is a No Contest Plea Deal in New York?

How Does Alternative Sentencing Work in NYC?

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